On Tuesday, makeup brand Cover FX launched a lineup of new products: a tinted moisturizer with adaptogens and pre- and probiotics, and a patent-pending makeup application brush. These products are fueling a new launch strategy necessitated by Covid-19 limitations.
Cover FX’s traditional product launch strategy relied on influencer events, as well as wholesale retailer events in-store and online. It also included influencer gifting (through mailings) of free products. But like much of the beauty industry, the inability to host in-person events or have customers experience products firsthand in stores has required Cover FX to shift its approach, with many new tactics set to remain permanent fixtures of future launches. Cover FX is sold through Ulta, Sephora and Dermstore, among others.
The arrival of the tinted moisturizer, in particular, adds to a bevy of brands and products seeking to add much-needed innovation to the makeup category that has seen an accelerated decline in sales due to coronavirus. Many of these new formulas are tapping into the benefits of skin care: Saint Jane launched CBD-infused lip products, while Becca debuted a skin-care infused “invisible” foundation in July.
Cover FX has been owned by private equity firm L Catterton since 2011, and reportedly explored a sale option in 2018. That year, it expected to do $65 million to $70 million in gross sales, with more than $10 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2018, according to WWD.
“We recognize everyone has a lot of stress in their lives, and this product will help you feel radiant, while it also does the critical work of helping repair your skin at the same time,” said Emily Culp, Cover FX CEO.
The launch strategy for the products will focus on social media, physical sampling and computer-generated image videos. Cover FX is producing 10 videos for the brush and moisturizer, including five using CGI. Videos span tutorials on how customers can experiment and customize makeup looks using the tinted moisturizer and application brush, the latter of which features three small wells to deposit primer, foundation and highlighter. There are also ingredient story videos on adaptogens and the pre- and probiotics. Videos are displayed across CoverFX.com and Ulta.com product pages, and have been repurposed on Instagram.
Cover FX also joined Instagram’s beta IG Checkout program in June and increased its influencer budget by 500% after re-allocating its events budget. Cover FX used to work with only one influencer at a time, but it’s now working with 4-6 influencers. Its network of both paid and unpaid relationships is approximately 1,000 globally.
“Instagram is a high touchpoint, because we have different consumers on Instagram versus our owned email list and Facebook groups,” said Danielle Dinelli, Cover FX senior director of e-commerce and digital marketing. “Having the Instagram audience and giving them the ability to also shop from Instagram is going to be a game-changer for us.”
Finally, Cover FX is shifting its existing sampling strategy, as wholesalers like Ulta is not permitting dramming, which is when a customer receives an in-store sample of a product like foundation taken from a full-size tester. But offering single-use samples for dozens of products would be prohibitively expensive and environmentally wasteful, said Culp. Cover FX’s solution is to have paper postcards with small amounts of multiple shades of a product available. On CoverFX.com, this sampling strategy will most often apply to Cover FX’s four-step makeup application products: prep, cover, set and enhance. For example, when a customer buys one or two products that fall into any of those four steps, the brand will automatically send them up to two samples from the other steps. Samples are also available through Ulta, and Cover FX is producing 60,000 units for the tinted moisturizer.
There are other upcoming launch strategies, as well, with Cover FX debuting a virtual try-on tool through CoverFX.com on August 25, tied to its monochromatic lip products. Cover FX plans to playfully encourage customers to try a “monochromatic look,” said Dinelli.